Noise Output: Could Be Quieter
When undertaking routine actions, such as entering text in Word, the VGN-TX1XP operates at unnoticeable noise levels, as long as the ambient temperature is less than 70° F (21° C). With a noise output level that we measured at 33 dB(A), the device doesn't add appreciably to normal office ambient noise levels. But when ambient temperature levels climb above 70° F (21° C), the laptop fan will kick in from time to time for a few seconds even when the unit is running in idle mode. In that case, the A-valued noise level climbs to a more noticeable 36 dB(A).
If you want to play a DVD video, the performance of the CPU in "Battery mode" can't deliver smooth, non-jerky output. The power scheme must instead be reset to "Adaptive mode"; with that setting selected, the fan runs continuously, and the unit produces noise levels at a constant 35 dB(A). This is especially noticeable during quiet passages in a movie or other programming.
Under heavy load, the Pentium M753 ULV processor turns up the fan speed, raising noise levels to 41 dB(A). Because of its relatively slow clock rate of 1.2 GHz and the level of performance that delivers, the CPU can become heavily loaded even when running multiple Office components in parallel (Word, Excel, and Outlook for example). If the graphics subsystem is also loaded down at the same time, fan speeds increase still further and noise levels climb to 43 dB(A). At these noise levels, it's hard even to hear hard disk access when it occurs.
We can't help but wonder why Sony chose such a noisy fan to cool this system. There are many sub-laptops and Tablet PCs with ultra-low voltage CPUs that eschew active cooling altogether. In this instance, Sony's component choice doesn't strike us as an elegant or effective solution.